Programme Science impact - Esplanade Québec
appel a projets innovation santé alimentaire, appel a projets accélérateur, appel à projets startup impact social, innovation alimentaire, innovation santé
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Accelerate the development of your innovation through research

► Apply to win one of the 30 $10,000 grants available to impact startups!

In collaboration with    Logo Fonds de recherche du Québec


Accelerate the development of your innovation through research

► Apply to win one of the 30 $10,000 grants available to impact startups!

En collaboration avec les    Logo Fonds de recherche du Québec

$10,000 to start a research project

For the second year running, Esplanade Québec and the Fonds de recherche du Québec are joining forces to support entrepreneurial and scientific innovation in Quebec, thanks to the Science Impact program.


This grant program will enable 30 Quebec startups to initiate or enhance new collaborative projects with Quebec researchers.


Call for projects

September 26 to November 5, 2023

Information session

Webinar: for an effective research project

October 10, 2023


December 2023

Coaching session

January 2024

Selection pitches

February 2024

Collaboration between impact entrepreneurship and research to multiply mutual benefits and innovate!

For entrepreneurs, it is…

  The opportunity to collaborate with experts who know the specificities and possible advances in their impact sectors

  The benefit of access to cutting-edge knowledge and recent data on their fields of action

  The prospect of increasing the efficiency of their impact company and differentiating themselves through innovation

For researchers, it is…

   A way to deploy research results directly with potential users

  New perspectives on their research, thanks to interaction with the user environment

  The opportunity to work on innovative projects that have a concrete social and environmental impact on our societies.

The program is divided into 2 parts

Part 1

Introduction to research


15 grants of $10,000 will be offered to startups that are not familiar with research, but would like to learn more about it.


The aim of this component is to introduce entrepreneurs to collaborations with the research community, and to facilitate links between innovation and research.

Part 2

Strengthening innovation through research


15 grants of $10,000 will be offered to startups already familiar with the research community and wishing to undertake collaborative projects to further integrate research into their business strategy.


The aim of this part is to encourage startups to collaborate with research.


What are the program's objectives?

The program aims to encourage collaboration between the research community and startups with a societal and environmental impact, as defined by Esplanade.

More specifically for startups, the program enables them to:

strengthen the innovation capacity and increase the societal and environmental impact of startups in Quebec through collaborative research

increase social and environmental benefits in Québec

More specifically for the research ecosystem, the program enables:

make Québec research expertise accessible and promote a scientific approach to entrepreneurship in Québec

The program has two parts: an introduction part to support a company taking its first steps towards collaboration with the research community, and a reinforcement part for experienced companies wishing to continue relying on research to innovate.

Part 1
Introduction to research

Exploring the potential of research to accelerate the development of your entrepreneurial project

Develop for the first time a research project to generate tailor-made scientific knowledge for your company

Part 2
Strengthening innovation through research

Follow up on one or more research projects that have already contributed to the development of the entrepreneurial project

Consolidate the contribution of research to the company's business model

In both cases, projects must respond to a specific problem with concrete anticipated benefits.

Who is eligible?

This program is for you if:

  You have an entrepreneurial project, whether you are an NPO, cooperative or joint-stock company (inc.)

  The candidate and the majority of his or her team, including the founder, are domiciled in Quebec.

   You are not yourself (or a member of your team) a researcher or research professional affiliated with a Quebec research institution (Centre collégial de transfert de technologie, university, research center funded by the FRQ or the Quebec government, etc.). Research assistants and students are accepted if their project does not involve a research collaboration with their current institution of affiliation.

  Your company was registered after November 5, 2018.

  You are or have been supported by a business incubator or gas pedal (minimum 10 hours of support in a program with a selection process).

What is the selection process?

The selection process is divided into 2 phases:

  Pre-selection phase: an initial selection will be made on receipt of application files. The files will be analyzed by an independent jury from the entrepreneurship and research community, according to the eligibility and selection criteria.

  Pitch selection phase: shortlisted projects (around 25 per stream) will be invited to present their pitch to an independent jury made up of researchers and specialists from the various sectors involved in the call for applications. Following these pitches, the jury will meet to select the 30 winners of the two streams of grants.

To help you prepare your application, we invite you to attend the information session on October 3, 2023 and the webinar: Recipe for an effective research project (in particular for part 1).

What are the selection criteria?

Please note that the program is aimed at projects that offer an innovative, efficient and realistic solution to a social or environmental problem, and is in line with our definition of impact entrepreneurship. Applicants must demonstrate this in their application.


Criteria common to both components

1. Project quality (20%)

  Clarity of problem, methodology/execution plan and anticipated results

  Anticipated team composition and roles (corporate and research)


Please note: The project must go beyond market research or impact analysis of an entrepreneurial solution.

2. Collaboration strategy (20%)

   Project development and follow-up plan with research partner

 Plan for integrating the research project into the company’s activities, including dedicated resources (time, personnel, expertise, equipment, etc.)

3. Scope of anticipated benefits (20%)

  In relation to the problem and to the development of the entrepreneurial project

  Stimulating effect on Québec research

  Benefits for user communities and Quebec

Benefits can be scientific, social, economic, technological, environmental, etc.

Criteria applicable only to the introduction part


Candidate’s research initiation potential (40%)

 Motivation, experience and expertise transferable to a collaborative scientific project

  Level of familiarity with research

Criterion applicable only to the reinforcement part


Demonstration of the company’s potential to consolidate innovation through research (40%)

  Experience in developing research projects

   Demonstration of the project’s complementarity with previous research initiatives

 Potential for innovation through long-term research within the company

What expenses are eligible?

In keeping with the program’s objectives, the $10,000 grant must be used to finance expenses directly related to carrying out the proposed research project. All allocated funds must therefore go to the research center or organization with which you are partnering. Eligible expenses are as follows:

  Remuneration and benefits for research staff directly involved in the project, in accordance with the scales in force at the managing institution or organization, where applicable.

  Scholarships, scholarship supplements and salary support for CEGEP and university students and post-docs

  Cost of purchasing or accessing databases

  Expenses related to the use of equipment or premises required to carry out the research project (up to a maximum of 15% of the value of the grant)

We already have an in-house researcher, can he/she take on the research project?

No. To be eligible for the Science Impact program, which aims to create and/or strengthen links with the public research community, your project must be carried out by external researchers affiliated with research institutions recognized by the FRQ, with whom you will sign a collaboration agreement.

What is the timetable for the research project?

Your project must begin after the grant has been approved, i.e. in March 2024. From then on, you have a maximum of one year to sign a research agreement with your collaborators, and then one year to complete the project (adjustments may be made to the timetable depending on the case).

I already have funding for my research project, can I apply?

Yes, you can apply if the Science Impact grant is intended to integrate an additional component, complementary to the existing research project. The implementation of this component must not have begun before the grant is awarded for you to be eligible.

What is the follow-up process?

The 30 startups selected to receive grants are expected to collaborate with the Esplanade on project follow-up. After completion of the project, startups will also be required to complete a short reporting form.


75% of the grant will be paid on receipt of the agreement, and 25% on submission of the reporting form.

What are the dates to remember?

Call for applications: September 26 to November 5, 2023

Information session: October 3, 2023

Webinar – recipe for an effective research project: October 10, 2023

Announcement of shortlisted startups: December 2023

Coaching session: January 2024

Selection pitches: February 2024

Announcement of winning startups: March 2024

Award ceremony: April 2024


The October 10 webinar is aimed primarily at part 1 startups, and is designed to inform applicants about best practices in developing a research question. It is optional.


The coaching session will take the form of a virtual meeting during which pre-selected startups can receive advice on preparing their pitch. This meeting is optional.

Part 1
Introduction to research
Part 2
Strengthening innovation through research

Need more information?

A virtual information session will be held on Tuesday, October 3 at 12 noon.

You can also put your questions to Guillaume Rousseau,

Partnership Manager at the Esplanade, at [email protected].